Friday, January 02, 2009

If you love Windows XP, you’ll hate Windows 7

Surviving the Win 7 learning curve ...

"My colleague Jason Perlow has been playing with Windows 7, and he hates it. The sad thing is, all the things he hates are improvements, in my opinion, which just goes to show that you really can’t please everyone. But what’s sad to see is that every setting Jason describes as broken is in fact easily customizable so it works the way he wants it.

The crux of Jason’s complaint is simple: “I learned how to use Windows in 1998. Don’t change a thing.” Here’s his main argument in a nutshell:

I find it difficult to believe that Windows 7 was created to be easier to use than Vista — if anything, they’ve introduced a number of UI changes that make the system much harder to navigate, particularly if you’ve never used Vista and are going direct to Windows 7 from Windows XP, which is the path that many users will experience.

Yes, there’s a learning curve. And if you insist on using those techniques you learned back in the last millennium with software that was designed differently, you will be frustrated. But I believe that an open-minded XP user who actually takes a few minutes to learn how the new UI works will be more productive very quickly. The secret is breaking old habits and developing new ones. Let’s take all three of Jason’s examples and work through them.

Jason: “The ‘Run’ option is no longer directly accessible from the Start Menu, you have to get to it via a Search.”

Where do I begin? First of all, the Search box at the bottom of the Start menu does nearly everything the Run box did, and much more. If you begin typing a command, it appears in the Start menu, where you can click or press Enter to run it. With the Run box, I have to type a command in full and possibly even include its path. If I mistype the name, I get an error message. Want to play Solitaire? With the Search box, you can begin typing sol and the first choice on the list will be Solitaire, ready to run when you press Enter:

But the worst part of the Run box is that it requires you to learn the names of executable files. In XP, if you open the Run box, type solitaire, and press Enter you’ll get a cryptic error message. You need to know that the name of the executable is sol.exe. Want to play Minesweeper? You’re SOL with the Run box until you learn that the executable is named Winmine.exe. The Vista/Win7 Search box, by contrast, works with program names and executable files."    (Continued via    [Usability Resources]

Hiding names you need to know. - Usability, User Interface Design

Hiding names you need to know.


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